On the lookout for a small portable Bluetooth speaker to listen to music on the go, connect to your devices for calls, or stream your favorite flick? Check out the JBL Go 2 and its newer version, the JBL Go 3. Perfect as a travel mate, the urban outdoors, or a day at the beach, these are rugged, waterproof speakers that deliver reliable sound quality typical for JBL and for less than $50 at that.
In summary, both the JBL Go 2 and JBL Go 3 are extremely handy and easy to connect to most devices (even though they won't give you seamless switching on iOS devices). The roadworthiness and portability are hard to beat in this price range. Both sound quite similar, but the JBL Go 3 has a little more bottom range, updated Bluetooth connectivity, and accepts voice commands. The price for both is about the same.
Let’s have a closer look.
Design and Build
Small enough to fit in your palm, both speakers give you a feeling of incredible portability. Enhanced even more so with the protruding loop on its side, which can be used to carry it or hang it up. The build, while primarily plastic, is very rugged and waterproof. There is a minute difference here, though.
JBL Go 2:
This comes with a waterproof rating of IP67 which means it’s completely protected against dust and the effects of temporary immersion between 15cm and 1m for up to 30 minutes, according to tests.
JBL Go 3:
The JBL Go 3, on the other hand, comes with a waterproof rating of IPX7, giving you protection when submerged in water at a depth of one meter for 30 minutes. The protection levels against dust are the same.
JBL Personalize lets you select patterns and colors or upload a photo for your speakers or headphones.
Size and weight:
Some differences crop up here as well, with the JBL Go 2 weighing in at 184 g with the following dimensions:
8.6 cm x 3.16 cm x 7.12 cm
The JBL Go 3 is a little heavier (209 g) and comes with the dimensions:
8.7 cm x 4.1 cm x 7.5 cm
Needless to say, the aim of these speakers is not to cater to audiophile cravings but rather maintain a basic standard of audio quality along with the complete portability they give you. And both do this job very well. The mids and highs are clear and transparent. The low mids don’t get too muddy. And the bass is probably more responsive than their size would have.
Both speakers also come with a passive radiator. If that’s a new term for you, it’s a specific kind of driver sans a voice coil and a magnet. The sound vibrations produced depend on its mass and the enclosure size. While usually used in combination with a woofer to produce deep bass tones, it works fine as a standalone solution.
The JBL Go 3 has a more bass response, though. Its lowest frequency goes down to 180Hz. The JBL Go 2 gives you until 110Hz. So that’s a difference of 70Hz we're listening to. One that does make itself quite apparent, even though the JBL Go 2 is quite well-balanced overall in its audio delivery.
No differences between the devices here. Both give you up to 5hrs of continued playback on a full charge, which takes about 2 and a half hours.
Both devices come with a 3.5 mm aux input and Bluetooth.
The Bluetooth differs in each, though. The JBL Go 2 comes with Bluetooth 4.1 installed, and the JBL Go 3 is on the newer 5.1 version. While this gives you added stability in the connection, 4.1 is still very functional for most purposes.
You may also check the complete specifications of JBL Go 2 on jbl.com, too.
At the time of this article, the JBL Go 2 was priced at around $39.95, and the JBL Go 3 at approximately $49.95. (Please check your local dealers for offers).
In conclusion, this is how the JBL Go 2 and JBL Go 3 stack up against each other:
- Design and Build: Tie. JBL Go 2 is lighter, but the JBL Go 3 gives you better water protection.
- Sound: The JBL Go 3 wins due to the added bass frequency response.
- Connectivity: A clear tie.
- Price: A tie again.